Create a Stylish Wardrobe with 8 Easy Sewing Patterns

Wraparound dress.

Wraparound dress with ¾ sleeves.

Wrap top with cap sleeves.


Wraparound baby doll top with cap sleeves.

Wrap top with French sleeves.

Wraparound top with French sleeves.  


Build Your Wardrobe the Easy Way

If you love sewing your own clothes like I do, then you probably have a few go-to patterns that you use over and over again. Once you find a simple pattern and have adjusted the fit to your measurements, these patterns can provide a wealth of wardrobe staples by just changing the fabric, details, and making simple alterations. For example, I have a basic straight skirt pattern that I have made four times in different fabrics and lengths, giving me plenty of fun skirts to wear to work. This is a great strategy for building a stylish wardrobe in no time!

This foolproof wardrobe-building strategy is the idea behind a fantastic new book, Simple Modern Sewing: 8 Basic Patterns to Create 25 Favorite Garments. Translated from Japanese and featuring the modern simplicity Japanese sewing books are known for, this book gives you eight simple patterns that can be easily altered to create a wealth of variations.

A great example of how this works is this basic pattern for the Wraparound. This is the perfect project for a beginner or when you want to make something quickly because there are no buttons or zippers. You can wear the dress long all by itself or wear it over pants or leggings opened or closed. You can also shorten the skirt to turn it into a baby doll top, plus mix and match the sleeve options, from three-quarter length sleeves to cap sleeves or French sleeves. Since there is ease built into the pattern, the wraparound top and dress are perfect for layering. And the silhouette is simple, so there is plenty of room for embellishment, from appliqué to embroidery. You also have plenty of fabric options to choose from, and the pattern works equally well in a print as it does in a solid color.

It's easy and fun to play with the different design modifications on the basic patterns. Here are just a few of the simple modifcations you can make to the patterns to sew tons of great clothes:

– Change the length to turn a top into a dress or tunic
– Play with sleeve options, including long sleeve, ¾ sleeve, cap sleeve, butterfly sleeve,sleeveless, and more
– Add pleats or a drop-waist to a simple yoked skirt
– Make a top into a jacket by opening the front
– Turn a shift dress into a drawstring waist dress
– Take a simple pants pattern and make long pants, cropped pants, and shorts
– Change the waist on a simple A-line skirt from fitted to a gathered drawstring waist
– Turn a button-down blouse into a shirt dress

The patterns are all easy to sew and adapt, plus there are plenty of ways to add custom detailing, from decorative stitching to trims, buttons, and other embellishments. Simple Modern Sewing is a great addition to any sewer's library, and I guarantee you will have a lot of fun mixing and matching design elements. I can already see a wealth of creative possibilities!

Happy sewing,


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